Re: Applets? [was Re: Planning for GNOME 3.0]

Le lundi 20 avril 2009 à 16:10 -0700, Dylan McCall a écrit :
> I do have a guess what could be done. Firstly, abolish applets as things
> which must be run differently from other applications; the user should
> not Ever see the word "applet" again. Enhance running applications and
> how they connect with application launchers and their windows; one of
> the things GNOME Shell seems to be doing.
> Maybe one way about this is to build on that part of the window manager
> where it's up to The User whether he wants to minimize a window, shade
> it or put it beside another on the right side of the screen. How about
> window management hotspots, such as a panel and a sidebar, each with
> unique properties for how they treat windows? The user places a window
> in one of those and, depending on whether it supports some fancy
> extensions, it becomes a docked window like any file in the panel or the
> desktop (eg: a window icon that when clicked opens into a full window
> again). Super awesomeness could extend that so the docked window gains
> desklety / applety functionality when supported.
> Basically, kill the distinction and leave it up to the user to say what
> he wants a window to do rather than have them making unpredictable
> guesses, and have the window - or whatever other object - do what it can
> to meet the user's commands.
While I agree your proposal would be a great enhancement for most
applications that abuse of the notification area (e.g. music players), I
don't think that could  fully replace applets. Applets like timerapplet
or sticky notes are different from standard applications in the sense
that you don't work with them as a full task, but only keep them in the
background to be easily accessible, while you actually use them for a
very short period.

The point with them is that the ratio (time running)/(time use) is very
low compared with e.g. a text processor. Thus, you need them not to take
too much space on the screen, not even, as you suggested, stacked in a
corner by the window manager. I'd argue that the best place to put them
is on a separate layer à la dashboard (Apple), or directly on the
desktop. This layer could be accessed with a button in the top panel,
somewhere or in the overlay. Many "widgets" of this kind exist, see
Screenlets, Superkaramba, or Google gadgets, or Plasmoids. A simple way
of reintroducing applets in a "correct" way would be to support e.g.
Screenlets in an overlay: replacements for Tomboy already exist in that
framework, which is AFAIK compatible with other widget formats.

At least, that's really how I consider we could get rid of the clutter
on the main screen, which is distracting us with icons we don't need to
be always visible.

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